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VOL. 132 | NO. 155 | Monday, August 7, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: School Days, MLGW Moves Off Beale and Room For Peter Pan To Fly

By Bill Dries

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The K-12 school year begins Monday for most of Shelby County including the state’s largest public school system right here. Some schools have started earlier and some start later. So remember that in your daily travels going forward even if you don’t have school age children.

Those who do are returning in some cases to the strict protocols of drop off and pick up lines and other matters of school and parent etiquette. And still others are on the voyage of discovery that is the true first day of school for their young one. Here is a re-run of our story from Friday that recaps some of the action. We’ll be out and about Monday morning at a few places for a follow-up.

Meanwhile, here is the week ahead beyond schools.

A few weekend developments: Jerry Collins is retiring at Memphis Light Gas and Water Division at the end of the year. And Corey Strong is the new chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party. More on each of these stories as the work week gets underway.

Speaking of Memphis Light Gas and Water, the utility wants to fold its Central Shops facility on the eastern end of Beale Street into its existing North Service Center in the Hyde Park neighborhood of North Memphis. The Central Shops location is hot property with the neighboring Commercial Appeal property for sale. The expansion in Hyde Park means MLGW has bought some homes there. Collins says the utility will not attempt to take other homes by eminent domain if the owners do not want to sell.

Instacart, an on-demand grocery delivery service, moves into 31 ZIPs in Shelby County starting Tuesday. So if an employee of one of these services is doing this in the same area where you or I are doing our shopping thing, I think it’s only fair that there be some way of distinguishing the pros, like some kind of uniform with food patches on it – a foodie version of NASCAR maybe with their shopping carts outfitted appropriately -- special lanes, pit crews to bag their groceries in record time. And they could scout the rest of us to see if we have the potential to go pro. There could be a minor league system that involves pizza delivery. Just a thought from a wandering mind that is usually paying more attention to the music playing in a store than what is next on the list.

Usually when we do a story on a prison, it’s about the people inside. In the case of the Shelby County Corrections Center piece that is the cover story in the latest issue of our weekly, The Memphis News, we’ve looked at how the center is being run – the lights, HVAC, water – all of the utilities. And Don Wade has found quite a sustainability story that also includes a workforce training component for some of the inmates there. Meanwhile, look closer at the on-line cover photo by our photographer Houston Cofield, which was cropped just a bit in the print version, and you will see something unexpected. More on that later this week.

Also part of the weekly package, a report by Jody Callahan on dicamba drift, a herbicide used by about 60 percent of this state’s farmers along with a new type of soybean seed made by Monsanto that is resistant to dicamba. Plant those seeds and spray dicamba over the top of it – in that order, plant first-spray second -- and goodbye pigweed. But say hello to a dicamba gas that is carried on the wind to neighboring fields not using the Monsanto seeds and they are “graveyard dead” to quote one of the people we talked with. Trying to track it can be difficult and litigious. This has been a huge agricultural issue in this region – Arkansas and Mississippi included -- that we’ve been reporting on for about the last year.

State House minority leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley is, as expected, in the Democratic primary race for Tennessee Gov. He joins former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean in the Democratic contest, which should be quite a contrast. With the earlier exit of state Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville from the Republican primary for governor, Fitzhugh becomes the only West Tennessee contender on either side.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Bob Corker isn't talking about his plans for 2018 when his Senate seat is on the ballot.

We got a look around Ballet Memphis Midtown at the corner of Madison and Cooper and found some choreography of the construction kind as well as some dancers getting their first look around a new larger home where they can see the public and the public can see them.

For the next three years, Regional One Health will take a close, detailed look at readmissions to the region’s safety net hospital. It’s a partnership with the nonprofit Camden Coalition to get at why people in need come to the hospital and why they continue to come, particularly to the emergency department.

Don’t look at the sun, especially during the solar eclipse later this month. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But St. Jude is partnering with American Paper Optics, the Bartlett company that is the world’s largest manufacturer of 3-D glasses. APO is making solar eclipse glasses for the big day – Aug. 21 – and half of the proceeds from a 10-pack of the glasses will be donated to St. Jude.

James Taylor got into town a bit early for his Saturday show at FedExForum with Bonnie Raitt. And from the stage at FedExForum he gave a shout out to McEwen’s, where he ate Friday night.

Stanley Bar-B-Que is in and Schweinhaus is out in Overton Square – all in the same space that was the original Paulette’s. The beer hall look and common tables remain, at least for now.

Rolling Stone on a new Otis Redding biography.

The Memphis News Almanac: Crosstown – the first opening, Reparations default worries, Bears vs. Eagles, A Beatles resolution and the first Yellow Fever cases on the Memphis riverfront.

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783